Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Cameras

Innocence

by on Feb.14, 2012, under Cameras, Family

Innocence (or guiltlessness) is a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime.

The lamb is a commonly used symbol of innocence’s nature. In Christianity, for example, Jesus is referred to as the “Lamb of God”, thus emphasizing his sinless nature. Other symbols of innocence include children, virgins, acacia branches (especially in Freemasonry), non-sexual nudity, and the color white.

Tamara Picking Clover - Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

The Innocence of Youth

 

The photo above was taken with a Nikon F2 and probably my old trusty Nikkor 43-86 zoom on Kodachrome 64 film.  This is my oldest daughter who just recently turned 30.  She still exhibits the same wonderment and zest for life as she did 28 years ago, but now tempered with life experience.  Is the innocence still there?  Sure it is.  It will always be there even if it has to work it’s way to the surface every once in awhile.  She has the strength to insure no one will ever take that part away from her.  Whether she believes in God or not, her spirit was given to her by the Creator and will be welcomed home when that time comes.  Hopefully not for many years to come as she has so much spirit to share with those around her.

Sometimes bad things happen to even the most innocent.  Think of the souls lost in Syria right now.  Babies and mothers blown to bits by a mad man.  When people lose their innocence it is usually at the hands of the guilty, if you can call the opposite of innocent – guilt. However these unfortunate victims of murder in Syria have not really lost their innocence, just their worldly projection of it.  Innocence is within the spirit, which now rests with God.

Those that have that special ability to make others feels special, whether it’s their own child, extended family or close friends are special in themselves.  They are a rarity in today’s “me” world.  These special people are selfless and work long hours, many over looked, to insure the quality of life for those around them is the best.

I want to talk now about someone in our family who is one of these very special people.   I have only known her for around ten years but in that short time have learned to love her.  Every time we visit she goes out of her way to make us feel special even though at the same time she is working a very demanding job and running a very active household.  Juanita is her name, not that would mean anything to many of you, but this is one person that should not remain nameless in a world of sensory clutter.  Nothing she has done will make the evening news.  She won’t appear as a trending item on Twitter. Nor will she have hours and hours of coverage devoted to her by CNN as she fights the biggest battle of her life.  This person who could have done anything in her life devoted all her waking energy to the well being of others.  Juanita worked in an old folks home for most of her adult life.  She choose to work in a position that gave her a very hands on relationship with those in her care.  Her spirit and innocent light infused those around her.  Juanita is the ultimate “mother hen” even taking on the job as head contract negotiator for the care workers at her place of work.

Juanita and her husband Gerald brought up three lovely, caring and equally “innocent” children into adulthood.  Each of their children have been infused with the spirit of their mother.

Juanita has been struck with a inoperable case of cancer.  Bad things happen to good people.  Just as they happen to bad people.  There is an equality there that doesn’t seem fair.  Why would God allow that?  Why would God allow a child to lose his or her little life as in Syria?  From God’s perspective, that life is not lost.  God is able to restore to that child their life, so no loss is suffered on the part of the child.  Life is not lost to the One who can restore it.

What about the grief that parents and family experience?  In our loss, the presence of God is available for us to experience His strength, His comfort, His sustaining love and assurance in the face of the evil that exists.  God sustains those who grieve for those He calls to Himself.

Juanita’s brothers, sisters and parents have flown to Abbotsford, BC where she lives to offer support and encouragement.  This is one very close family.  In the pictures my wife brought back Juanita still has that special smile.

I’m not writing a eulogy here, Juanita is still with us.  I can feel the warmth of her smile as I think of her.  Juanita is a unique person who deserves all the blessing, prayers or positive vibes any of you reading this can send her.  She deserves it.  Juanita has the fight of her life ahead of her.  She has spent her entire life helping others.  Now it our turn to help this very special person in any way we can.

Juanita has that special innocence.  She still has that special ability to get excited about clover flowers just as my daughter did 28 years ago, even though her world around her is anything but easy.

 

4 Comments more...

The Wildrose Brewery

by on Feb.05, 2012, under Cameras, Developing, Location

Wildrose Brewery Vats and Kegs - image taken by Eric Rose Fine Art Photographer

I spent a wonderful afternoon at the Wildrose Brewery a couple of years ago.  I had spotted this place about a year before while at a farmers’ market.  The brewery is housed in an old decommissioned Canadian Army base .  What was more than likely a storage building for machinery now housed these gleaming vats full of God’s special nectar.

I lugged my backpack full of large format lenses, loaded film packs and a Linhof Technica IV past the patrons in the front, through those special swinging doors that separated reality from a Willy Wonka-esk sudsy utopia.  The Wildrose Brewery is a relatively low tech facility. Since they are a micro brewery the output is small when compared to the big operators like Molsons or Labatts.  Here the staff are very hands on with every facet of production.  They actually care about the product they produce and it shows in the taste.  Years ago I had dealings with one of the chemists that work for a once large beer “manufacturer” here in Canada.  I asked him what was his favorite brand.  His answer surprised me, he said he didn’t drink beer, he knew what was in it.  Interesting to say the least.

Here at the Wildrose Brewery they coax out several very distinctive brews from their specially picked ingredients.  “Manufacturing” suds is so far from their reality you have to wonder how some of the swill produced by the big manufacturers can be called beer.   Wildrose beer has become popular here in Calgary due to its taste, not through juvenile commercials.

This particular shot wasn’t easy.  There was a door open on the left that was bathing the kegs in direct sunlight.  The vertical vats were in shade with the background almost dark.  The scene brightness ratio (SBR) was approaching 10 or 11.  Fortunately I use PyroCat-HD as my primary developer utilizing a semi-stand regime.  I adjusted my ASA (ya I’m an old fart and still call it ASA) to the appropriate value, placed my zones where I wanted them and let’r rip.  As it turns out the neg is fairly easy to print, only a little dodging and burning here and there.  The film I am using is Efke PL100  also known as ADOX 100.  I would really like to make a digital neg about 11×14 and use it to produce a carbon print as I have seen Sandy King do.  Carbon prints have such a 3D look to them.

Once finished my shooting for the day the Brewmaster took me around and we spent at least an hour sampling various beers straight out of the vats.  Before I left I did a crew portrait which was dropped off to them the following week.  One copy for each of them.

2 Comments :, , , , more...

I hate my job!

by on Jan.30, 2012, under Cameras, Digital, Location, Travel

turkey_seedseller - photo by Eric Rose

Istanbul Seed Merchant

I don’t know about you but I can honestly say I have had some jobs that just stunk.  Sometimes they start off great but go downhill really fast after the novelty wears off.  Being a bit of an old fart I was brought up in the age of commitment.  If you said you were going to do something you darn well did it.  None of this job jumping you see these days.  Actually I don’t blame the younger folk these days.  Employers have no compunction about sucking you dry and then spitting you out on the street so they can boost the numbers for the quarter.  Gotta keep those Wall Street fat cats happy!  So why should an employee feel some sort of commitment or allegiance to their employer when none if given.

What does this rant have to do with the lady above?  Well nothing really and everything.  Women like her have probably been selling bird seed in this very spot for at least 100 years.  Why do they still do it?  Because they feel a dedication to their Mosque, or maybe her family.  This is the same dedication I used to see here at home.  We use to call it the “Protestant work ethic”.  Since religiosity generally in North America is on the decline it seems the work ethic that went along with it is also on the decline.  That’s not to say there weren’t lots of non religious people who were very hard workers.

Now take the woman in the photo.  There are numerous narratives a reasonably creative mind could come up with.  Is she unhappy with her job?  Maybe the kids running around the square are getting on her nerves.  Maybe she has not made enough money to buy the food necessary for tonight’s dinner.  Could be she is tired of photographers!

Now a bit on the back story.  This photograph was made in a square near a very large Mosque in Istanbul.  There must have been several hundred pigeons squawking for their dinner and an almost equal number of children pestering their parents to buy one of the small plates of seeds.  At the moment I made this image a very large flock of pigeons had been scared into flight.  Being under a tarp was a definite plus.  My wife got a beautiful photograph of a child peeking through just such a pigeon lift off.  Please check out her website.

What intrigues me about the above image is the subject’s body language.  Even though she is Turkish it is not hard to read where her mind is.  She is doing her duty, raising money for the Mosque, and not enjoying one minute of it.  She is well organized and has settled in for the long afternoon ahead.  The countdown is on.  She is poised for a quick exit.

The tension she exhibits is very subtle in the photograph.  The legs running away in the background can be seen as a counterpoint to her captivity.  The bright red adds to the feeling of tension.

I loved Istanbul and found the people to be so warm and friendly.  Well except when they are selling seeds.

The equipment I used for this image is Nikon D700 with Nikkor 28-70mm 3.5-4.5.

Leave a Comment more...

Life is Good

by on Jan.16, 2012, under Cameras, Digital, Life is Good, Location, Photographers, Uncategorized, Vision

When I look at the news these days it reaffirms my belief that for me at least life is good.  Is this why so many people have become news junkies, they need to see someone suffering so they can feel better about themselves?

I think we all know the person who spends all their available time glued to CNN or some equally intelligence numbing news porn pusher. I firmly believe our local CTV news department here in Calgary has a quota of blood and mayhem they have to meet for every evening newscast.  If nothing is gory enough locally they dredge up something from some backwater hillbilly county in the US.  While it may be tragic for the people closely associated with the shooting, stabbing, car wreck or beating it has absolutely nothing to do with my life. There is nothing I can do beyond feel bad for them while at the same time thinking, geez my life is so much better than theirs.  Thank goodness I watched the news, I never would have known how good I have it.

What does this have to do with photography you ask?  Good question.  My life is good, and I don’t need anyone external to tell me so. Yes I could be making more money, I could be 40 pounds skinnier, maybe I should be able to run 10 miles.  Right now, today, I feel great with who I am and where I am.  Well maybe Brooks Jensen from Lenswork magazine could call me up and say he loves my photography and wants to publish some of my stuff in his excellent magazine.  That would make me a tab bit happier.

For 2012 my goal with this blog is to publish one image a week that makes me happy.  It could make me happy because it records a joyful occasion, creates some visual magic like Bruce Barnbaum‘s slot canyons and cathedrals or represents something spiritual.

Along with the image I will outline the all important W5’s.  Maybe even some photo geeky stuff too.

Below is the first image.  Anyone from my generation (baby boomer) can relate to this scene.  Instantly you have memories of going with your parents to the local hamburger drive-in;  the smell of the car’s interior, the AM radio playing anything but what you wanted to hear, pretty car-hops in short skirts, and REAL hamburgers with the condiments oozing out into the foil wrapper.  Maybe you went with your friends in a souped up Chevy or Ford.  A hot car of this era just had to have Thrush mufflers and a jacked up rear end.

Every payday my dad would take my mom and me to the local A&W.  I can remember the day when I was finally old enough to order a Teen Burger and my very own order of French fries!  During those days the family car was a very powerful Plymouth Fury with a new one in the driveway ever year until they got rid of the fins in the early 60’s.  Then it was on to a string of Oldsmobiles.  Why Olds?  Because they had a 455cu, 375hp engine and a nice factory AC installation; horsepower for the old man and AC for my mom.  From Olds the old man went on to Buick Wildcat’s.  That is until they detuned them in 72.  He stuck with his 455cu, 375hp Wildcat until the day he died.  They might have to pry a gun from Charlton Heston’s dead hands, but for my dad it was the keys to his monster Buick with it’s 10mpg.

This picture was taken at a street festival here in Calgary.  I was feeling lazy that day and decided to leave the D700 at home instead pocketing my beater Canon A640.  I figured it would be a generally lousy day for photography but was instead presented with a very target rich environment.  Live and learn.  I did the best I could given the lighting, proximity of Mosquitoes (people in my way) and the limited space between the vehicles.  While the car was an integral part of the photograph, for me it represented mainly a time stamp. The food, now that was what caught my attention.  Did I mention I am just a tad overweight?

Since my digital days are rather recent compared with over 40 years of shooting film I only took one photograph of this subject.  Mind you it took me some time with lots of ducking and weaving to get just the right angle before I pulled the trigger.  I hope you enjoy this image and it brings a knowing smile to your face.  If you were too young to have enjoyed the drive-in experience rent a copy of “American Graffiti” to get a flavor of what I am talking about.  Say hi to the Wolfman for me.

55 Merc Memories - Eric Rose Fine Art Photography Blog

55 Merc Memories

2 Comments :, , , more...

Crossfield Alberta

by on May.01, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Friends, Location, Travel

Photograph of Crossfield Store by Eric Rose

Crossfield Store

Not very far from Calgary, a city of over 1 million, is the quiet town of Crossfield.  Crossfield has a population of 2861 according to their official website.  Two weeks ago the population jumped by 3 as my wife and I plus one of my photo buddies Mark Bingham ventured out to enjoy this sleepy little town.

One of the things that strikes me about these small prairie towns is the quality of light.  For some reason it seems brighter and clearer than in Calgary.  This is probably true since they don’t have the pollution we suffer on a daily basis in Calgary.  I think I read somewhere Calgary is the asthma capital of North America.

Part of this clarity renders white buildings, very white and very bright.  This combined with a deep dark blue sky offers the photographer some wonderful contrasts to play with.  A person might be tempted to add a polarizer to enhance this even further.  This would be a mistake in my opinion, at least for the subject pictured above.

It’s hard to find a building in one of these towns without a half ton truck parked out front.  Since these rural residents enjoy their open spaces and it seems they don’t like to park next to each other as well.  Hence the vehicles are very well spaced down the street.  You can’t be in a rush either.  Chances are a car or truck will pull up right in front of you blocking what you are trying to photograph.  The curious passengers will either just look at you in amazement trying to figure out what you find so interesting or will actually ask you.  What a refreshing change from the city where I have had things thrown at me while photographing along busy streets.

One more thing I enjoy about these small towns are the young bucks cruising up and down the main drag, in first gear, punched out mufflers announcing their impending entrance to every young gal in town.  Reminds me of my youth in Calgary.  We use to disconnect our mufflers, or for the better off buy Thrush Mufflers, and cruise the “circuit” downtown.  Pink slip racing was the order of the day.  If you pulled up beside a Hemi Barracuda or Duster 6 Pack you knew you would be eating dust.  I use to have a 1967 Belair station wagon.  Real chick magnet!  Not.  Until I lit up the backend and took out one of those Mopar muscle cars.  Yup my wagon was a sleeper.  The 327 was totally blueprinted, all kinds of extra goodies added to the motor and cranked out over 430 hp.  I would go through two automatic transmissions a year.  It just tore them apart.  Back in those days we didn’t worry about gas mileage.  I suspect this baby got in the single digits.

Those were the days.  Road Runners, Chargers, Barracudas, GTO’s, Da Judge, Firebirds and the Camero.  Corvettes were for sissies or old guys with bad hair pieces and heavy jewelery.

I took my Linhof Technica IV out to Crossfield in addition to my Nikon D700.  Had a lot of fun setting up my shots with the Tekinator. Metering, adjusting swings and rise all those activities that allow you to drop into the “Zone”.  Apologies to Ansel for using his great system as a pun.

I made two film images that day.  Both ruined by a bad film holder.  The image above was shot as a backup with my D700.  Lucky I did.  Will this discourage me from using my LF gear in the future.  Not in your life.  It’s only a little bit about creating images and a lot about soothing my soul.  I find film photography to be very relaxing.  I love the pace, the contemplation, the excitement over getting it all right.  I still get excited about seeing my negatives for the first time after a bath in the fixer.  Watching the image emerge in the developer when printing brings me right back to working along side my dad in the darkroom.  It also reminds me of my newspaper days, teaching darkroom technique to people who themselves are seeing their images come up for the first time.  All this is missing from the run and gun digital photography most people practice.

I will be increasing the population of Crossfield by one once again in the near future.  I still want those images on film.  Digital is nice but for me at least it has no soul.

3 Comments :, , , , , , , , more...

Random images from Last Summer

by on Apr.30, 2011, under Cameras, Digital, Location

Since we seem to be caught in the grips of a never ending winter I thought I would post some images from last summer.  Two from the Calgary Stampede billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, and two from a local British car clubs show and shine.  If you are interested in the technical details of how I did the shots and the post processing leave a comment and I will answer it to the best of my ability.

Stampede Excitement

 

The White Hat

 

Got the Keys?

 

Sparkles

 

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

I feel a Draft!

by on Apr.09, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Film, Location

Road Kill Coyote

Road Kill Coyote

Well this poor coyote did not make it through our never ending winter.  I found him about a month ago and shot a pic with my cellphone.  These are the kinds of finds you know are worth going back to with a real camera when the conditions are right.  My fear was that the city workers would find him since he is just off a walking path.  Or some kid who had his sling shot taken away would kick the crap out of him.  Alas after several more snow falls and melts this coyotes final resting place remains undisturbed.

There are a fair number of these critters in my neck of the woods.  The poor souls have had their natural territory taken over by houses, asphalt, cars and concrete.  We are enduring a rather rapid increase in rabbits due to the coyotes not wanting to venture to far into suburbia.  Smart coyotes aren’t they.

Well it seems this one tried to go from one semi-open field to another but didn’t quite look both ways before crossing the four lane.  His brethren might have benefited from his untimely demise by donning their bibs and chowing down on some tasty ribs.  I am sure the crows and magpies swooped in for dessert.  By the looks of him I would estimate his age at about 2 years.  Chances are he spent his first year and a bit out in the near farm lands enjoying a steady diet of mice and small birds.  Whatever happened to him I hope it was a quick end.  Maybe he did not get hit by a passing vehicle at all.  It could be he just froze to death waiting for the traffic to break so he could get across the road.  Maybe he was waiting for the chicken.

Today I went out with my Nikon D700 adorned with my new to me 28-70mm AF zoom.  Shot off a few quick images to check composition before I hauled out the Linhof Technica IV.  My film image was shot on Ilford Delta 100 rated at 100 asa (ISO whatever).  The lens was my trusty Rodenstock APO 150mm.  I just love that lens!  So sharp and contrasty.  Tomorrow will have to be a darkroom day as the large format group I started 6 years ago meets on Tuesday and the theme is “skeleton”.  How convenient.  I know what you are thinking I set the theme knowing I had an ace up the sleeve.  In actual fact the wife of the member who had the last meeting picked the theme for this meeting.  Sometimes things just work out.  Sometimes.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , more...

My God it’s been a long time!

by on Mar.03, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Photographers, Travel

I have been so busy with my web design business I have neglected to post any updates.  Bad Eric!

What’s been happening in the ratified world of Eric Rose?  Well in November I was in Palau scuba diving and shooting underwater video.

Map of Palau

The Rock Islands of Palau

For years I did underwater still photography with various Nikon cameras ranging from the Nikonas IV to a housed N90s.  I came to a point where I became bored with still images and wanted to try something new.

The rig I bought was a JVC GZ-MG77U.   This camera gets housed in an Ikelite video housing equipt with Ikelite Pro light.  It took me awhile to get on to the video stuff, especially when I should use the colour correction filter or not.  Basically I found I should use it all the time underwater unless it’s dark enough to use the Ikelite light.

We spent one week on land and one week on the Peter Hughes Tropic Dancer.  The boat was beautiful, the food was terrible and the dive staff inexperienced.  We had one very scary life threatening experience due to Divemaster error in my opinion.  In their defense they were all new to the area and I am sure things will get better.

The diving was “ok” but not what I expected for such a highly rated area.  Maybe it’s just that with all the international diving I have done over the years I am becoming jaded.  Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon still rates as my all time favorite dive destination followed VERY closely by Sipidan.

Photographically I have been having a blast with my cellphone camera.  Three years ago if anyone would have suggested that Eric Rose would use a cellphone camera it would have caused heart palpitations!  I have the LG Shine II and it comes with a good little 5 M pixel camera.  By itself it takes “ok” photos but why bother when I can use my Nikon D700 and get really great images.  When it  becomes fun is when I use at little program called Retro Camera.  By the way I HATE the term “app”.  App this app that.  They have an app for that.  Geez.  I even saw a guy refer to his website as an “app”.  Get a life buddy!

I just did a series of photos with my cellphone that I am going to put in my gallery and call them “Bored at the Airport”.

Bored at YYC

Bored at YYC

It was funny, each time I took a photo some security dude would run over and look over my shoulder to see what I was photographing.  They were smart enough not to say anything to me.  The security dudes soon got bored with me and began hassling people with dogs.  In hindsight I should have taken a photo of these security dicks telling a very pregnant women who happened to have the cutest little puppy to stand outside in the -30C weather while she waited for her husband.  They threatened her with a $500 fine if she didn’t leave the airport immediately.  To her benefit she pulled a Charlie Sheen and told them to “bring it on”.   So they did.  The cops came, took one look at her, another glance at the dog, then took the security dicks aside.  The security people quickly left and went back outside where they were suppose to be directing traffic and the nice lady was not hassled again.  Why is it that airports have gotten so crazy?  It brings the worst out in everyone.

Mr. Linhof finally got to go for a spin again.  It’s been a long time since I did any serious large format photography.  Too long!  The only problem is that my darkroom is really cold right now so haven’t souped the film.  Paid a visit to my buddies at The Home Depot yesterday and bought an oil filled space heater.  That should help.  Currently have about 6 rolls of 35mm and 15 sheets of 4×5 to process. I’m one of those weird people that actually enjoys developing film.  Hey maybe William Shatner will do a “Weird or What” episode on me.

I started a large format photography users group (LFUG) about 6 years ago.  One of our members Steve Speer just got published in The Lenswork extended edition #92.  He has some stunning images of the Suncor Energy facilities in Ft. McMurray.  There is an audio interview with Steve as well.  Steve is both an excellent photographer and great guy.  Not something you generally find together unfortunately.  John Sexton is another one that fits into that category.

In my not so humble opinion Lenswork Magazine is the ONLY photography magazine worth subscribing too these days.  It’s meant for people who approach photography as an art, rather than a technical challenge and/or gear lust.  There are no “how to” articles and the latest whiz-bang digital doodad is not fawned over.  Very refreshing to say the least.  The owner/editor Brooks Jensen writes very insightful pieces on a more philosophical plain than what you would find in the mainstream publications.

Well I think I have rambled on enough for today.  Will try and be a little more regular from now on.

Leave a Comment :, , , , more...

The Helen Lake hike, or how I learned to love my A640

by on Sep.06, 2010, under Cameras, Friends, Location, Travel

Yesterday Erna and I joined our good friends Dave and Laurie Lynn Brookwell (owners of Illusions Photographic) on a hike to Helen Lake.  Why this lake is named after this Helen person is a good question.  Maybe someone can illuminate us.

The day started off with a 7am pickup of the Brookwells followed by a 2.5 hour drive.  Getting to the parking lot to begin the hike was the easy part,  just go west on the Number One, turn north onto the 93 at Lake Louise and continue on for 32kms.

Upon entering the parking lot I was a bit disheartened to see so many cars.  I can remember the days when I would be hiking the back country by Lake Louise and might see two people all day.  Given the number of cars I estimated there had to be at least 100 people on the trail.  Since there were reports of bears in the area I guess having company on the trail might be a good thing.  Especially those doofus’s that insist on wearing those bear dinner bells.

The hike is 12kms taking you on an elevation gain of 1800 feet.  Within mere steps from the beginning the trail pitch was rather steep.  Between gasps for the ever thinning air, views across the valley to Crowfoot Glacier were spectacular.  Now I have to admit I’m not in the best shape these days.  Hey I’ve been trying, going to the gym when I can, passing up ice cream once in awhile and thinking real hard about jogging.  Well, it’s a start.  This said I figured that on this hike I better not take the 4×5.  Not even the D700 or the Leica.  No it will be the Canon Powershot A640 that gets called up.

I’ve always like the A640.  When it was the latest and greatest I recommended it to my photography students if a solid P&S was what they were looking for.  Funny thing was I never got around to buying one myself.  This situation was remedied when I spotted one in a pawn shop for $98.  I eventually walked out of there with the camera for $50.  It certainly had seen some miles in it’s short life but everything worked.  The optics are great, the 10M byte images sharp and clean.  All this in a very small and light package.  Perfect for this hike.

During this hike we were treated to bright sunny warm conditions, blustery cold winds, and to finish the day off, snow.  Fortunately all the good weather was during the assent.  Below you will find some of the images I came away with using the A640.  Not bad for an out of date, bruised, battered last years technology picture maker.  Oh ya the camera did fine too.

Corn Lilies

More Corn Lilies

Rebirth

Helen Creek

Laurie Lynn by Lake Helen

One Last Corn Lily

These web images do not do the A640 justice.  I could easily make tack sharp 11×14 prints from the JPG files the camera generates.  Now I will let you in on a little secret. Canon doesn’t want you to know this but you can get 12M byte RAW files from the A640.  Yes RAW files.  There is a lot this little camera will do but you will never know unless you  download a little firmware package called CHDK.  Do a quick google search and you will find it.  You can not only upgrade your camera to give you RAW files but you can now see histograms and a very useful battery strength indicator.  Why doesn’t Canon build this functionality into the Powershot right from the factory?

1 Comment :, , , , , , more...

No Man Left Behind.

by on Aug.12, 2010, under Cameras, Digital, Film, Location, Travel

No man left behind!

While the genesis of this saying may be from the military, it applies to many things, both animate and inanimate.

My wife had a university reunion in Winnipeg, Manitoba scheduled for July 30 to August 1st. I felt this would be a great opportunity to take an extended photo trip from Calgary
to Winnipeg spanning three days.  The vehicle of choice would of course would be Mr. Happy my 1970 VW hippy van.  Mr. Happy got his name from the happy face tire cover he proudly wears on the spare.

Mr. Happy having lunch in Redcliff, Alberta

Kids and grownups alike love Mr. Happy.  Kids wave and people my age give me the peace sign.  I’ve even been waved at by some cops that I am sure could have stopped me for speeding had I been driving anything else.

This adventure was planned to be a full-on photo safari.  The large format camera, a selection of lenses, 20 film holders, tripod, Nikon D700, Nikon F5, a selection of Nikkor

On the Road Again

lenses, Canon A640 for snap shots and tonnes of film was loaded into Mr. Happy.  A few clothes, some food and water, Ipod, cellphone and my favorite pillow were chucked in for
good measure. Off we went in a cloud of dust July 28th.

The only two deadlines I had were to met a photo buddy I have gotten to know through Analog Photographers Users Group www.apug.org in Brandon, Manitoba on Thursday night for some beers, tall tales and a place to crash. The second deadline, the important one, was Friday evening to pick my sweetie up from the airport in Winnipeg.  The rest of the trip was wide open.

The first day say me getting some great shots of a lonely gas station out in the middle on nowhere Alberta.  Some people hate the praires and I can understand that sentiment.

Lonely, dusty gas station in rural Alberta

This gas station offered a small oasis of humanity in an otherwise hostile environment.  Cars pulled in, kids pilled out, parents would bark orders.  Trucks would charge in to
gas up, their drivers checking the tire pressure.  Locals would hangout on the bench not in a rush to head anywhere.  Especially into the dust and heat. Some feel this land is
barren and empty. Well I suppose it is to some but I feel it mirrors what’s on the inside more than anything else.  Personally I love the wide open spaces Alberta and Saskatchewan offer.  To me they offer an endless vista of ever changing tones, complicated compositions and a sky that can be both threatening and beautiful at the same time.

They joke that you can watch your dog run away for three days.  Some quick shots with the Linhof Technika IV, a couple with the D700 and a record shot with the A640.

Mr. Happy the perfect photomobile

It was off again, destination Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  In the old days this town was know as a bootleggers paradise.  It’s rumoured that Al Capone stayed in Moose Jaw on

occasion to oversee his distribution network into the US.  Canada didn’t suffer the delusion of prohibition.  There was some talk that my own family had benefited from quenching
the American’s thirst for spirits during that time. Economies have been built all over the world supplying the Americans with things they don’t really need or are not suppose to
have.

Moose Jaw is a very pretty town with a wicked Thai restaurant, a very photogenic oil tank farm and the most unusually painted bridge supports.  There was not enough time to
photograph ever

Nit's Thai Eats

The next day saw Brandon, Manitoba on the horizon.  It would be a full days drive given Mr. Happy doesn’t go over 60 mph. Well he will but it’s not safe in my estimation.  I
dropped into Indian Head, Saskatchewan to see if they had any funky buildings.  To my surprise what I found was a TV production crew filming a CBC weekly series called “Little
Mosque on the Prairie”.   I got as close as I could to snap a quick “I was there” picture and then beat a hasty retreat before the traffic control thugs got a hold of me.  Beyond that, Indian Head didn’t have much to offer photographically so it was back to the asphalt ribbon.  I should have had Meat Loaf’s “Highway to Hell” blaring on the stereo.  It was sure hot as hell!

Running with the big dogs

Just west of Wolseley, Saskatchewan I spotted a drive in theatre in what looked like the middle of a farmers field.  I found the road leading to it and soon realized it just
looked that way from the highway.  At one time this drive in had mulitple rows of posts each holding oversized pot metal speakers that hang from the car windows.  Today there is
only one row left.  In todays HD 52 inch widescreen LCD TV’s I guess no one wants the outdoor movie experience.  To bad really but I guess if kids want to make out in the back
of the truck these days they can put on the movie of their choice and have it play on the in-vehicle DVD screen.  I would suppose the advantage would be the movie screen doesn’t
fog up even if the windows do.

Drive In ticket hut

The drive-in wasn’t worth getting out the large format gear but I did manage to mangle a few digit with the D700.  I spent 45 minutes there and had a great time both making
photograps and remembering my own drive-in days.

Once back to Mr. Happy I found it wouldn’t start.  The engine was very hot and had what is normally called a vapour lock.  Another 30 minutes and Mr. Happy was cooled off enough to start. Back to the highway.

"Some like it Hot"

The next 16 miles was straight east, and I do mean straight.  Not one turn of any kind.  Mr. Happy started to loose power so I turned into Grenfell, Saskatchewan thinking that
after he cools off I could check the timing and/or the valve gap.  If either of these are out, overheating is the result.  He wasn’t pinging so I was leaning to valve problems.

Mr. Happy and I toddled around town and found a nice shady place right across the street from a auto parts store.  Lunch was in order at this point so I walked down the street and spotted the usual Chinese cafe you find in any rural town in either Alberta or Saskatchewan.  Seemed everyone was having the number one special so not being one to tempt fate in one of these establishments I ordered the same.  Once it came out I thought to myself that if I had any problems with constipation this meal would cure it.  Everything
was either deep fried or very greasy.

Back to Mr. Happy.  I quickly checked the timing and it was spot on.  Next up was to adjust the valves.  Normally you do this when the engine is stone cold, but I didn’t have that
luxury as I was suppose to be in Brandon that night.

Mr. Happy's engine

Since I was so preoccupied with getting my photo gear ready prior to my departure I neglected to pack my repair manual.  This was a problem because I have never adjusted the valves on a Mr. happy before.  I sauntered across the street in my best local farmer saunter and asked the guy in the parts store if there was a library in Grenfell.  Indeed there was, but he wasn’t sure if it was open today.  In any event it was at the end of the main drag.  More sauntering and a 15 minute wait for them to open up and I was in heaven.

Air conditioning!!  I asked the gal at the counter if there was a computer hooked up to the internet I could use.  Indeed there was and did I have a library card.  Well I be
giggered.  Once I related my tale of woe she relented and let me use the computer but it would cost me 25 cents a sheet to print anything out.  I quickly found what I was looking for, gave the nice lady 75 cents and headed back to Mr. Happy.

Well after about 4 hours of back twisting eye straining grunting I had all the valves adjusted.  I was covered in thick dirty grease but the friendly gentleman at the Standard
Auto Parts place let me clean up in his bathroom.

Off we went again.  We galloped down the highway a glorious 18 miles and then that was it.  Mr. Happy said enough is enough.  The number three cylinder was not producing any
power.  One of the valve wasn’t working and was probably broken.  Valves that go in, must also come out.  No such luck.

Now things get interesting.

It was evident that I was not getting to Brandon tonight, and probably was not getting to Winnipeg for the Friday pickup of my sweetie.  So what to do?  I called my sweetie in
Calgary and explained the situation asking her to call AMA to send a tow truck out to me.  Fortunately they had one in Grenfell.  This meant Erna had several options; 1. fly to
Winnipeg without me and fly back (one more plane ticket), 2. that very night once home from work jump into our minivan and drive to where I am, or 3. change her plain ticket to
Regina – pick up a car there and drive to Grenfell in the morning.  Since Erna wanted me at the university reunion, bless her soul, the first option was out.  She was bagged
from work so option two was discarded.  That left the more costly option of changing the ticket and picking up a rental car.  Somewhere in the discussion me taking the Greyhound
was mentioned but with all the camera gear I had this would not work.  Poor Erna, this extra stress, she did not need.

Death Row

Mr. Happy, now Mr. Unhappy was towed to a lot in Grenfell and I booked into the local highway motel.  This motel was just purchased by a commercial real estate agent hoping I’m sure to fix it up and flip it.  I named the establishment Hotel 1 1/2.  Given that every commerical building in Grenfell was up for sale, he might have to be a bit patient.

The room was comfortable and once I figured out how to get the AC working quite cool.  Things went on well until about 3am when some yahoos wanted a room and began banging on the office door and for good measure my door as well. I just told myself it was probably better they get a room here than drive since it sounded like they were quite drunk.

The rest of the trip was very uneventful. Once back in Calgary my father in law and I drove his 1/2 ton truck back to Grenfell and we towed Mr.Happy back.  No man left behind!

1 Comment :, , , , , , , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!